Science, Singh & Society

Physician turned politician became a role model

Kashmir Magazine

Science governs every aspect of life in this universe. It generates solutions and has helped to answer the greatest mysteries of universe. It has a variety of functions for the benefit of our society, including creating new knowledge and improving the quality of our lives. History is witness that technological revolutions have shown that pioneering scientific discoveries have the potential to provide new solutions to the world’s most crucial problems and pave the way for radically innovative and integrated approaches. But there is always need of creating a window for exchange of ideas of mutual respect & trust between scientific community and society. This job was done by the physician turned politician, Dr Jitendra Singh, who established a strong link between Science and Society across the country and directly or indirectly, the common men and women are reaping its benefits.
Leave political science and emotional prejudice aside, we need to accept the politics of truth, which ultimately prevails. I have been a regular visitor of Department of Science and Technology (DST), New Delhi since 2011 for organising PM’s INSPIRE Internship programme at NIT Srinagar (stopped after Covid-19), coupled with other Nano-Mission Projects. The Department was established way back in 1970, with the novel objective of promoting areas of Science & Technology in the country. From the last one decade, I have been a witness that these objectives and initiatives have been broadened, expanded and extended in all its dimensions, under the mentorship of Dr. Singh, who has given additional wings to this noble organization, launching number of innovative schemes for the bright boys and girls of the country. The good news is that the schemes have reached to grassroots level, even to small villages across the country.
Not only in its initiatives for the welfare of scientific community and society at large but also in its infrastructure. The department was housed in one storied buildings in such a shape that even in a broad day light it was difficult to find the concerned official not to talk of a folder or file. Just entering the buildings were dark corridors and sightless rooms, despite four decades of its establishment. Very recently, I visited the Department and it was unbelievable to see altogether a marvellous infrastructure with new multi-storeyed buildings of state of the art design. It looks as an International Centre of science diplomats. When enquired, who did it, all said this is your Minister Sahib. Trust me, it was an honour and privilege to see and hear about his vision and managerial skills.This should not be the matter of conflict; people who travel to Delhi should visit Technology Bhavan, Mehrauli Road, New Delhi and have a close look about its framework and functions.
The steps taken in emerging technologies such as National hydrogen mission, National quantum mission, semi-conductor mission and space science have become lessons for even developed countries. The green revolution and the promise to reduce carbon foot print shall soon be accomplished. Space Technology is virtually touching every person’s life, with application in different sectors like Railways and Highways, Agriculture and Water Mapping, Tele-medicine and Robotic Surgery. We have covered unimaginable journey in the field of space technology and has become a frontline nation in the development of space technology. We have steadily moved from the lab to land (long back) and very recently from lab to moon, with the successful landing of Chandrayaan-3 on South Pole of moon and became the first country to achieve this feat and honour. The unfulfilled dreams of Vikram Sarabhai and of Dr. A P J Kalam’s are being fulfilled by our passionate and powerful leader, no doubt with a support of eminent intellectuals heading major organizations and indeed the band of scientific advisors, known in scientific fraternity across globe.

The impact of Indian scientific breakthroughs has significantly enhanced the ease of living for the common man. The success of Aroma Mission and Purple Revolution in J&K has resulted in over 3,000 Start Ups engaged in Lavender cultivation and has reached to far flung areas of north Kashmir. People are aware and acknowledge that many of his initiatives have made them to earn their livelihood with self-respect and contentment. National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Science & Engineering Indicators 2022 report, mentions that India’s position globally in scientific publications, has improved from 7th position in 2010 to 3rd position in 2020 and also India’s scholarly output increased. Science and Technology are powerful drivers for progress and prosperity. Remember, science is linked to technology through application, technology is linked to economy and economy is linked to prosperity and prosperity leads to peace in societies.

Physician known for his work on diabetes and endocrinology tuned out to be the role model with all qualities, which resemble with the great leaders like Abraham Lincoln, whom we used read during school days. The deficiency of leadership in Jammu and Kashmir is indeed a grave concern, the leaders who will come up with substantive agenda and work for bright future. People need good education, quality health, clean water, robust judiciary and good roads, which are symbols of prosperity and progress. Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, with support of Dr. Singh has made around ten Medical Colleges fully functional within a short span of five-years. There are number of initiatives including completion of languishing projects in Jammu and Kashmir, where Dr. Singh played a significant role. This is beyond the comprehension of a common politician and the wisdom and perseverance of Dr. Singh shall go a long way. New generation record deeds and there is always a room to learn the lessons of life from selfless leaders. For our efficient and pragmatic leader, I will conclude it with a verse dedicated to the son of soil, which was dedicated to me by my student, as:
High ambition, winsome speech, passionate soul
This all is the luggage for a leader of caravan
The blind vision of indiscriminate appointments as Rehbar’s across the state of Jammu and Kashmir has shuttered the future of thousands of postgraduates and doctorates, blocking all positions for decades. Let any politician involved in those unreasonable appointments face our bright boys and girls today, if they have courage. It is only the new schemes of Science and Technology including private schools and colleges of the country who have given them shelter by which they carry their researchand feed their elderly parents who have sold land for their studies. It is beyond the scope of this column to spell the beans about our bright scholars, struggling and moving from door to door for their adjustment.
(The author is former head, PG Department of Physics at NIT Srinagar, and can be reached at: